Julian Elorduy, Mostly Embarrassing and Failing At Parties

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Julian Elorduy’s name is perfect for the sort of music he creates. Mostly Embarrassing and Failing at Parties is a little bit strange, a little bit familiar, but most of all, just supremely cool. The San Francisco/Bay Area musician (also of jangly guitar pop band Fine Steps) might take a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating stance on his solo record, but there are very few missteps; just shimmering, glittering pop to satisfy even the most shadowy soul.

Mostly Embarrassing and Failing at Parties is as cinematic as you’d guess, surprising in its ability to shift vibes from ‘80s movie soundtrack to ‘60s style sentimentality. No matter the style, Elorduy’s buried baritone pairs perfectly with bright synths and driving melodies. Old-fashioned in a way, Elorduy’s sophisticated approach to music-making feels undeniably refreshing.

Highlights include the gooey nostalgia of “Goodbye Baby” and dreamy romance of “Hurt You”, where Elorduy just barely hides his desperate longing from behind a steady, colorful beat (“how many times will he hurt you?” he begs). Tracks like “Love Song” and impeccably pretty closer “Misery” are sweeping and dark, but overall, Elorduy keeps his premise light. Not so much revival music, Mostly Embarrassing and Failing at Parties takes aim at the weird and the wonderful, hitting the mark each time.